October 10, 2021
Gilbert lost his job after the pandemic and had not been able to find anything new when a strange letter came in the mail with thousands of dollars. After thinking about it for some time, Gilbert took it to the police and couldn’t believe what they had to say.
Gilbert worked a regular desk job when the pandemic hit Houston, Texas. His company had to downsize, and they had to let go of him. Even with vaccines, things had yet to return to normal, although people were pretending otherwise.
Gilbert couldn’t find another job anywhere. He and his wife, Matilda, were middle-aged. She was a housewife but started selling candles on Etsy when Gilbert got laid off. It was not enough to keep their previous lifestyle, but it kept them fed.
However, Gilbert was getting desperate, as Matilda’s artisanal business wasn’t the most reliable form of income. “Honey, I think it’s time to look outside your field. I know you want a good position, but you could work anywhere. I heard data entry pays well. What about that?” Matilda suggested.
“I know, sweetheart. I was hoping people would start hiring soon, but it looks like I’ll have to follow your suggestion. I’ll have to start applying for anything,” Gilbert replied.
Matilda smiled and went to cook lunch. Gilbert read the ads on the paper, circling what could work, but he also started sending his C.V. to anything he could find on LinkedIn. After a while, he got up from the computer and went outside.
He was about to drink tea on the front porch when he saw a thick envelope sitting on his welcome mat. “Matilda, were you expecting mail?” Gilbert asked his wife when he brought the tiny package inside.
“No, Honey,” she called from their bedroom.
Gilbert opened the envelope, and his eyes widened at the stacks of hundred-dollar bills. “Oh my god,” he whispered. He counted the money, and it was $10,000. This must be a mistake, Gilbert thought.
Just then, Matilda came out of their bedroom. “What’s going on, Gilbert? You said something about mail. Did something arrive?” she wondered.
He thought about hiding the money from her, but she saw it before he could act. “Oh my God! Who sent you that money?” she exclaimed.
“I don’t know, sweetheart. It has our address, but I don’t think this is meant for us,” Gilbert commented.
“Well, if it has our address, it’s not illegal to keep it right. We could really use this money, and I could finally buy that dress I’ve been eyeing,” Matilda cajoled.
“I know, darling. But it would be wrong. We can’t do that,” Gilbert responded.
“Please!” she begged.
“No. I’m taking it to the police station immediately. We are not thieves. I’ll find a job soon, and we’ll be fine,” he said sternly. Matilda pouted and went back to their bedroom, slamming the door. Meanwhile, he grabbed the money and left.
“Ok, Mr. Harper. We’ll have to keep the envelope for our investigation. Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” Officer Luz Hart uttered when he finished telling them what happened.
“Will you let me know what happens?” Gilbert asked.
“We’ll do our best, but I must admit that some of these cases are almost impossible to solve. But I’ll let you know,” she promised.
When Gilbert got home, his wife gave him the silent treatment. She was still angry weeks later, mainly because they hadn’t heard anything from the cops. “See, they won’t find anything, and one of them probably kept that money,” Matilda scoffed.
But another month passed, and Officer Hart finally called him. “Mr. Harper! We discovered what happened. I've been busy with this case and forgot to call you earlier,” she said on the phone. "We found out that the original sender of the money was an older woman named Mrs. Helen Sanford."
“She got an email from scammers who claimed her grandson needed the money after an accident. Her grandson coincidentally lives just around the corner from you. The thieves gave her your address hoping to fool her,” Officer Hart continued.
“That’s terrible. I’m shocked that kind of thing still happens,” Gilbert replied.
“Yeah, it still happens, especially to old people. But anyway, you grabbed the money before they could steal it from your porch. But we caught them lurking around your neighborhood. We've already returned the money to Mrs. Sanford, but she wanted to meet you. Is it ok if I give her your address?” Officer Hart asked.
“Of course,” he answered.
That afternoon, the old lady showed up at the Harpers' door and gave Gilbert a huge hug. “Thank you so much for returning my money. Anyone else would have kept it,” Mrs. Sanford told him.
“It’s no trouble, Mrs. Sanford. I had to do the right thing. Would like you to come in?” Gilbert invited. The old lady sat down with him and Matilda. They talked about everything, and the subject of his unemployment came out.
“Yes, Mrs. Sanford. I have yet to find a job, and we could have used that money. But we couldn’t do it,” Gilbert explained.
She asked what kind of experience Gilbert had and offered him a job on the spot. “My husband’s company is doing amazing. It’s near here, and I bet we could find something for an honest man like you,” she said.
Matilda and Gilbert looked at each other in wonder and Gilbert accepted Mrs. Sanford's offer. When she left, Matilda apologized to her husband.
“I was too greedy. I’m so sorry,” she said in shame. Gilbert told her it was alright and hugged her tightly. He started working a few days later.
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